To facilitate this engagement Council will be undertaking a community wide survey which will run from Monday 27 April 2020 to Friday 22 May 2020. To take the survey follow the link on the project page.
(If you are unable to use the online platform to complete the survey – please contact the Community Development & Engagement Team, they can email you a copy or send you a hard copy survey in the mail.)
Due to the Covid-19 restrictions Council is unable to hold face to face consultation – including Open Houses and Workshops. Therefore, Council has resolved to write to key stakeholders, for example, local residents and interest groups to ensure their views are captured as part of the engagement process.
Council recognises the community and stakeholder interests and concerns in the illegal damage of vegetation along the Hervey Bay foreshore, most recently on Mant St (at Point Vernon). Council have committed to ensuring the community and stakeholders are given the chance to 'have their say'. At the February 2020 Council meeting, Council resolved to defer further mitigation actions, until engagement with community and stakeholders is undertaken.
The aim of the engagement for this project is to understand the community's perspective on incidents of vegetation clearing as a result of illegal vegetation damage, whilst providing a process for collaboratively developing an approach for managing future incidents. This engagement is also an opportunity to provide awareness of issues surrounding the illegal vegetation clearing to the wider community. The engagement remit is:
How do we collaboratively develop an approach for managing incidents of illegal vegetation damage?
The engagement stage of this project will run from Monday 27 April to Friday 12 June 2020.
In line with Council's current policies, and in order to protect and ensure the safety of the community, some mitigation actions have already been undertaken. These actions involve managing the safety of the contaminated area, as well as the dead and dying vegetation.
In order to rehabilitate the site following the illegal vegetation damage on the reserve and ensure public safety, we will install temporary fencing with mesh infill panels that will contain environmental educational messages. The panels will be designed to be both attractive and educational. Council will also conduct rehabilitation activities on the site, including revegetating the area. When plants are established and have grown to the height of the temporary fence, the fencing will be removed.
As the trustee of the reserve land on the foreshore Council has a legal obligation (duty of care) to facilitate the conservation of the land for the benefit of present and future generations.
Council's policy defines Unauthorised Vegetation Damage as:
'the unauthorised destruction, damage or injury to trees and vegetation on public land. Examples include poisoning (either foliar or soil), mowing, pruning, removal and ringbarking'.
Vegetation includes any of the following, whether dead or alive, native or exotic:
a) a tree (including any sapling or shrub);
b) an understorey plant;
c) a groundcover (being any type of grass or herbaceous vegetation);
d) a plant occurring in a wetland.
The community are encouraged to register through this project page to keep up to date and participate in the engagement project.
If this is your first time using Council’s Engagement Hub, please click on the register button (or https://frasercoast.engagementhub.com.au/register) to create an account. When prompted, create a username and password of your choice and provide a valid email address. Once you have registered – return to the project page and click the ‘Follow Project’ button at the top of the page to receive notifications.
If you have already registered and wish to be included in project updates, simply click the ‘Follow Project’ button at the top of the page.
Council will consider the community’s feedback and the proposed actions at the 22 July Council Meeting. (*subject to any changes or delays in the consultation).
Council will be undertaking a review of its ‘Unauthorised Vegetation Damage Policy’ later this year. The information gathered from this engagement will also feed into the whole of region engagement at that time. The community will also be invited to contribute to this engagement later in the year.